Senator Bill Wielechowski plans to file a lawsuit Friday seeking to force the Permanent Fund Corporation to transfer the full amount for Permanent Fund dividends this year.
If successful, the lawsuit would double the dividend amount, from one thousand dollars to more than two thousand dollars.
Wielechowski’s suit would essentially override Governor Bill Walker’s veto of half of dividend funding. The Anchorage Democratic senator said his research into the constitutional amendment and laws that provide for dividends show the money isn’t subject to annual spending by the legislature. He said Walker can’t veto it.
“I have concluded that it was clearly the intent of the legislature and the people of Alaska to allow the legislature to put in statute provisions such are in current statute, that are not subject to appropriations,” Wielechowski said.
State Department of Law officials have said all annual state spending – including dividends — is subject to the governor’s veto.
Wielechowski pointed to a 1994 Alaska Supreme Court decision that ruled that Permanent Fund earnings go directly into the Permanent Fund earnings reserve account.
“Because it is not an appropriation, its placement in the budget is superfluous and there was no – the veto is meaningless,” Wielechowski said.
Wielechowski said he will seek an expedited hearing so that the lawsuit can be resolved before dividends are sent on October 6th.